On this day in 1982, guitarist Randy Rhoads died in a plane crash. By the age of 25, Rhoads had made an enormous impact in heavy metal, having helped transform Ozzy Osbourne from the singer in Black Sabbath to the Godfather of Metal. And even thirty years after his death, Rhoads’ music and playing still serves as a major influence to guitar players around the world.
In honor of his legacy, we decided to list our top five favorite riffs and solos by the late great Randy Rhoads.
5. “Flying High Again”
Having reached #2 on the U.S.’ Top Rock Tracks chart in 1982, the second track off of Diary Of A Madman has a simple yet catchy riff with a mind blowing solo. Granted, most of Rhoads’ solos were mind blowing, but “Flying High Again” is one of the many that simply stand out.
4. “Over The Mountain”
The first song from Diary of a Madman starts off with a volley of drums, but Rhoads’ ferocious riff soon kicks in, letting you know right off the bat (no Ozzy pun intended) that his second album isn’t going to be a sophomore slump. This is a monster of a song, and while the album’s title track has more of an epic feel, this is the heaviest song on Diary.
3. “Diary Of A Madman”
The title track, and closing song of Diary Of A Madman combines Rhoads’ classical guitar skills with his signature electric guitar sound. The mix results in one of Ozzy’s most haunting and epics songs to date. It remains as a heavy fan favorite, and for the past few tours has been used as Machine Head’s opening track live.
2. “Mr. Crowley”
“Mr. Crowley” isn’t just one of the best songs on Blizzard of Ozz, it’s one of the best metal songs period. It’s got it all – an ominous organ/choir intro,lyrics about the most well-known satanist, and one of the best guitar solos of Rhoads’ sadly truncated career. Both the studio version and the one that appears on Tribute are a testament to Rhoads’ prodigal talent.
1. “Crazy Train”
Ok, so “Crazy Train” seems like an obvious choice for #1. But there’s no denying that it’s Ozzy’s biggest and most recognizable hit. And Rhoads is a major reason behind that. To this day, even though it’s arguably been overplayed on every radio station (and even at sports events), “Crazy Train” remains one of the greats riffs in heavy metal and hard rock of all time.